Sponsored by Massage Heights
While many massage therapists are self-employed, this is not the only route to successful and happy massage therapy careers.
Employment with a massage therapy franchise offers massage therapists numerous benefits that are extremely difficult to get while working as an independent therapist.
“Attracting new clients can be a challenge for massage therapists who work on their own, especially for those just starting out,” said Brooke Riley, LMT, a massage therapist who is also an operations specialist for Massage Heights, a nationwide family-owned therapeutic massage and facial services franchise company based in San Antonio, Texas.
Franchises like Massage Heights do all the marketing to drive traffic into the doors and fill the appointment books for therapists. “The therapists come to work and they have an instant stream of clientele,” Riley said. “Our brand is known across the country, and we put a lot of support into the marketing initiatives to help drive new clients through our doors. This allows our massage therapists to not have to worry about sourcing their next appointment and instead allows them to focus on providing the best massage experience for the people they get to help.”
When you work as an employee of a franchise rather than working for yourself, you don’t take on the business risks self-employed massage therapists do. The franchise takes on all the work of running the business. There is no rent or mortgage to pay. You aren’t responsible for hiring someone to maintain a landscape or plow snow from your parking lot.
You don’t have to invest in the operational materials you need to run a massage business, such as sheets, towels and pillows, a massage table or chair, body lotions and oils, and all the other miscellany of providing massage services, either. All of that is handled by the franchise owners. You just provide massage and leave the rest to your employer.
Some franchises, such as Massage Heights, hire on massage therapists as employees rather than as independent contractors. While each franchise location may differ on what sorts of benefits they offer, massage therapists might be able to get traditional employee benefits such as health insurance, 401(k)s, and sign-on bonuses.
“Working for a franchise also offers a variety of geographic locations from which massage therapists can choose,” said Riley. Massage Heights, for example, has more than 140 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
“We are hiring everywhere at all time,” she said. “[Massage therapists] can pick and choose where they want to live and where they want to build their career.”
There’s also the option of transferring from one location to another.
Development and Support
“Arguably, one of the biggest benefits of working as an employee of a franchise are the opportunities for learning and career advancement,” said Riley. Many franchisees will pay for their massage therapists to take continuing education course work, and some, like Massage Heights, offer their employees numerous training options.
For instance, at Massage Heights, massage therapists can learn various modalities and techniques, such as prenatal and sports massage, and hot stone and cupping therapies. “Learning these techniques expands massage therapists’ skill set, making them more versatile and knowledgeable, and better able to serve their clients,” said Riley.
“Massage therapists are also taught best practices for their own body mechanics,” she said. “We want our therapists to use good body mechanics and work the right way so they can prolong their careers. Our therapists are just as important as our guests so we want to ensure they are getting the self-care they need.”
Working for a franchise may also mean being able to advance a massage career within the company. Massage Heights, for example, “provides leadership training for massage therapists to learn how to lead a staff and how to train employees and other massage therapists for the purpose of growing careers within the company,” Riley said.
“We look at Massage Heights not so much as a business, but as a family,” said Wayne Guillory, operations specialist for Massage Heights. “We provide an area of growth where all massage therapists can mature and grow within their careers.”
That means massage therapists are taught the skills to become a professional: how to dress and present themselves professionally; how to create an environment for their guests that helps them reduce stress and increases feelings of well-being; how to effectively communicate with guests and with team members; how to build rapport and relationships with guests; and how to educate guests so they understand the wellness benefits of massage and how to best take care of themselves when they aren’t on the massage table.
Experienced massage therapists can benefit just as much as newly-licensed therapists when working for a franchise,” Riley said, “For all massage therapists working for a franchise allows them to continue doing what they love but relieves them of the burdens of running their own business. The consistent, competitive pay gives them the confidence to relax into their retirement. They still have the option of learning new things through the franchise’s training and educational programs.
An Investment in You
Franchise massage therapy jobs also provide massage therapists with the advantage of seeing how a massage business is run and give them the time and space to see if running their own massage business is the right choice for them. It also provides an inside track to franchise ownership.
In her 11 years of working for Massage Heights, Giovannie Hoff, the franchise company’s director of training, has seen a number of the franchise company’s employees transition into franchise owners.
“We invest in time and education,” she said. “Our mission is always to give them more than just what their position entails. We want to expand [their careers] for them.”
Massage Heights’ mission is to help people live better lives through regular massage and skin therapy. Massage Heights also offers a work environment where massage therapists can focus on their clients, rather than filling their appointment book. Massage Heights’ careers feature an environment where massage therapists are surrounded by people who share their client-focused approach and belief in customized modalities, and who appreciate the drive to deliver the best massage experience.
Stephanie Bouchard is a freelance writer and editor based on the coast of Maine. She frequently reports news and features for MASSAGE Magazine.